Sunday, 30 January 2011

Homemade Pork Chop with Mascarpone Peas

Oh is the weekend, which means I have got time to do somemore 'cooking of new dishes'! I accidentally came across this new recipe from a cooking show while reading some news articles online.

A very eash dish to make yet very delicious!

Pork Chop with Mascarpone Peas served with homemade chips.

Pork chops seasoned with salt, pepper and dried sage. Left for a couple of hours before cooking. 

Chop up a few sprigs of flat leaf parsley to be used in frying the pork chops and in making the sauce.
Potatoes cut into thick slices then boiled until soft. Boiled potatoes were then sifted to roughen the edges. Put the potato slices onto a baking tray with some garlic cloves. Season with paprika powder, salt, pepper, drizzle some olive oil then bake until brown and crispy.

Heat up 2 teapoons of butter with  2 tablespoons of olive oil in big frying pan/wok.

Fry the pork chops for 3-4 minutes each side until brown. Add some chopped parsley to the pork chops.

 The pork chops were plated and juice from the pan was poured onto the chops then left to rest.

While the pork chops are 'resting'. Make the mascarpone peas sauce.

Like before, heat up butter with olive oil then cook the peas with the rest of chopped parsley on high heat.

Season the peas with salt and pepper then add mascarpone cheese. Switch off the cooker and mashed the peas into the mascarpone cheese.

Dinner is ready! Simple and easy to make.

The chips were really tasty because it was roasted with lots of garlic cloves and well seasoned. Crispy on the outside with a soft centre as the chips were boiled before being roasted.

The pork chops were juicy and tender served with a very nice and rich mascarpone peas sauce.

Pork chop with chips

With mascarpone and peas

Monday, 24 January 2011

Homemade Linguine with Meatballs

I like pasta. I have cooked many different pasta with many different ingredients before but my favourite is this simple yet very traditional pasta dish - Linguine with meatballs.

The first time I made this dish was about 2 and 1/2 years ago. It was after I watched a movie in the cinema and one of the characters in the movie made this dish. I saw it and I told myself that I must try to make it myself!

Over the years, I have made the meatballs with different combinations of ingredients including basil, lemon zest, fried shallots, garlic, onions, mushrooms, breadcrumbs, eggs, flour, and various other herbs. Different combinations of course gave different flavours and textures to the meatballs.

Normally, spaghetti is paired with a tomato based sauce. This time, I used dried linguine instead because I much prefer the flat strings of pasta and they absorb the sauce really well.

Raw meatballs made with minced pork, chopped mushrooms, chopped garlic, dried mixed herbs, eggs, plain flour, bread crumbs, paprika powder, salt and pepper to season.

Close up photo of raw meatballs marinated and left overnight...ready for cooking!

Shallow frying the meatballs with some sunflower oil.

Shimmer the fried meatballs in Lloyd Grossman smoky bacon sauce for at least 30 minutes.

Boil pasta until al dante...usually takes about 5-7 minutes.

Some oil and salt added to boiling water to prevent pasta from clumping together.

When the pasta is ready, add some to a plate then pour the sauce with meatballs over it.

Linguine with meatballs in tomato based sauce
 To add more flavour, grated cheddar cheese was added at the end.

Garnish with grated cheddar cheese

A very easy to make dish and simply delicious! Meatballs well seasoned with a crunchy outside and soft middle. After being shimmered in the sauce for more than 30 minutes, the meatballs has absorbed all the flavours of the sauce. Yum Yum!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Our Very Own 30 Minutes Meal

Every now and again me and my housemate treat ourselves to a very nice meal (though our daily meal is not bad at all). Cooking everyday (every other day to be exact because we take turns) can become a chore but we always try to make our meals enjoyable and with a different twist sometimes.

Last night, my housemate made a very simple 30 minutes meal comparable to 'Jamie's 30 minutes meal' dishes, if not better! Chop, dice, slice, marinate, fry, that order...we get a very nice dinner.

You must be wondering now what dish was made last night?

Mee Hoon Soup
 Mee Hoon (rice vermicelli) soup!

The main ingredients are chicken, tofu, tomoatoes, mushrooms and of course rice vermicelli or mee hoon. The chicken was first marinated with salt, flour, soy sauce and a bit of cooking wine. Then all prepared the ingredients were boiled in water with chicken stock until the flavours come out and you can smell the fragrance of it. Cooked Mee Hoon we bought from Tesco was put into two bowls and sprinkled with some sesame oil, then the soup was poured into each bowl.

The soup was extremely delicious. It has the sweet and salty taste of chicken stock and chicken bones, the sour taste from tomatoes and a very nice touch of sesame oil from the mee hoon. To perfect the dish, it was garnished sauteed shallots and garlic and this just brings the dish to life!

So good I had second helpings!

PS now I am looking forward to tomorrow's spaghetti with meatballs! so watch this space...

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Asian Cuisine Trip

Our very first trip to London in 2011 to meet my friend Stephanie. A trip to London will not be deemed complete without having nice cuisines.

This time, we went for Vietnamese and Korean food. Both distinctively different from each other but equally recognisable as Asian cuisine due to the well seasoned, full of flavours and spicy food. 

As we arrived in London, we headed to Surrey Quay near Canada Water for Vietnamese food at Cafe East. After some instructions from Stephanie which sounded a bit like 'turn right, go straight down to the end, turn left, go straight again then turn left .....', we eventually arrived at the restaurant.

Che Ba Mau
Che Ba Mau - a special three layered drink made of red kidney bean, green jelly and topped coconut cream over crushed ice. Looks sweet, refreshing and super yummy with so many different textures and flavours in a drink!

Goi Cuon
Goi Cuon - "Fresh rice flake summer roll with poached prawn, pork, herb salad and vermicelli rice noodles. Packed with Café East special peanut sauce." This kind of roll is very popular in Vietnamese cuisine and they come in many different forms with different wrappings and different stuffings.

The other roll we had was the Banh Cuon -"Famous Vietnamese steamed rice pastry filled with savoury Chinese mushroom and minced pork. Topped with meat loaf, poached bean sprouts and shallots. Served with Café east fish sauce."

The different ingredients used in the rolls give you different layers of flavour and texture with each bite you take. Each type of roll is paired with different special sauces and dipping the rolls into the sauces just enhances the taste of these rolls. I want to especially mention the crushed peanuts in the sauce gives a very nice fragrance to the dish.

Bun Ga Nuong
Bun Ga Nuong - "Warm Vermicelli rice noodles topped with herb salad, pickled mooly and carrots, peanuts and crispy chicken. Served with Café East fish sauce." The shredded vegetables which make the salad is not only very healthy but adds a very nice crunch to the whole dish. The chicken was very nicely fried with a crispy skin and succulent meat on the inside. The sauce was a little bit spicy for me but it adds taste to the rice vermicelli and complimented the whole dish well.

Bun Tom Hue
Bun Tom Hue-"Vermicelli rice noodle with juicy king prawns in spicy soup." True to its word in the menu, this soup is absolutely and totally spicy! Only the brave dare to tackle this soup!

My friends tried several different dishes which are all very delicious and authentic. Overall, nice experience in this restaurant with authentic vietnamese food with a very reasonable price. Highly recommended!

As for dinner, we ventured into Rayne's Park towards the South-west area of London. Though it does not look much from the outside, Cah Chi restaurant offers one of the best Korean cuisine in London and coupled with excellent customer service makes it a must to visit!

Variety of small dishes
The traditional Korean small dishes are always served before each meal. We had dried seaweed marinated in vinegar, spicy potato pieces, kim chi and roasted soya beans. All very nice and appetising, getting us ready for the meal ahead.

Plum wine

Fried dumpling

Seafood Pancake
We had the fried dumplings and the seafod pancake for starters. I want to specially mention the seafood pancake as it was really crunchy and fragrant. The combination of seafood pieces and chopped spring onions fried in egg and flour is just simply delicious.

Fried chicken in garlic and honey
Very crunchy fried chicken pieces served with chopped carrots, spring onions and onions then the sweetness of honey makes this a very mouth-watering dish!

Fried glass noodles with vegetables

Grilled mackerel
The mackerel was very fresh and well cooked. With a squeeze of lemon juice that brings out the 'sea-saltiness' of the grilled fish. Yum!

Korean BBQ
Korean cuisine is also famous for its BBQ. They don't just BBQ meat and serve them on their own, the meat is first cooked then dipped into special sauces and finally wrapped in lettuce leaves before being consumed.

Sauces for BBQ meat
Lettuce and spring onions

Strands of sliced spring onions were marinated in vinegar and some chopped chillies. These spring onions were put on a lettuce leaf. A piece of cooked BBQ pork belly was then dipped into the 'oily-looking' sauce then put on top of the spring onions. Then finally, we add a little bit of that red thick sauce - soy bean paste. The lettuce leaf was folded up then it is ready to be eaten.

BBQ pork belly on lettuce
The chargrilled flavour of the BBQ meat, the sour taste from the pickled spring onions, the saltiness of the sauce, the fragrance of sesame oil and the refreshing lettuce leaf makes this dish absolutely fantastict to eat!

All the above steps were done by the waitress, and that is what I call first class customer service!

Cold rice vermicelli

All mixed up
The cold rice vermicelli mixed with cucumber and special red sauce, served with a hard boiled egg. A little spicy but still quite a nice dish to have.


We also had another mixing dish called the 'Bibimbap' which basically means mixed rice. The rice was served in a stone bowl with sauteed and seasoned vegetable and chilly pepper paste, raw egg and strips of beef were also added on top of the dish. The whole thing was then mixed thoroughly while still hot. *Because the dish was mixed and served by the waiter, I couldn't get a photo of it.*

A very nice dining experience, well worth the trip and I will certainly go again!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Happy Gathering @ Happy Gathering Chinese Restaurant

*entered in Retrospect*

On the second day of Joy's visit, we went to Happy Gathering Chinese Restaurant for dim sum. Happy Gathering is one of the best chinese restaurant in Cardiff serving Dim Sum in the daytime and normal chinese dishes in the evening. Dim sum is a type of Chinese food that involves small portions of food served in small steamer baskets or small plates. The fun of it is that we can share and try many different dishes with friends at the same time.

Pot of chinese tea

Egg tarts
Egg tarts are pastries filled with a concoction containing eggs and then baked. They are a bit like the custart tarts we normally have. The smooth texture of the egg with the biscuit-like texture of the pastry makes it a very nice dish!

Coconut Pudding
A very nice and refreshing dessert dish made of coconut milk. The texture is soft and jelly-like and the nice fragrance from coconut makes it an irresistable pudding!

Char Siew Puffs
Char Siew (roast pork) puffs are very nice with a sweet and a bit of chargrilled taste to the roast pork inside the pastry. The pastry is puffy and cripsy, very nice taste and texture.

House Special cirspy fried noodles
The house special crispy fried noodles, I must say, is not as good this time. Normally we would have more meat and vegetable served with the noodles and the noodles are normally much crispier. This time it was below par as the noodles were a little bit too soggy and clumped together. Perhaps they will do better next time.

'Shui Mai'
Shui Mai is one of my favourite dishes. It is made of pork meat and prawns wrapped in 'skin' made of flour then steamed. Super yummy!      

'Har Gao'
Har Gao (Prawn Dumplings) is made of several prawns wrapped in a thin and transparent flour skin steamed in those tiny steamer baskets.

Table full of food

Szechuan Fried Buns
The Szechuan style fried buns were buns filled with minced pork and coriander then shallow fried. The dish was then garnished with spring onions. The saltiness of the minced pork and flavour from the coriander goes really well with the crispy shallow fried buns.

The inside of the buns

Steamed Pork Ribs
Another one of my favourites is the Steamed pork ribs. They were small pieces of pork ribs steamed with Douchi (fermented black beans), a popular flavouring in Chinese dishes, and some chilli pieces.

Fried Squid
Fried Squid (or Calamari), Chinese style. The long, thin slices of squid were deep fried in batter and served with white vinegar.  Great combination and very delicious!

'Deep fried dumpling'
These deep fried dumplings called 咸水角 in Chinese are absolutely delicious! They were made of glutinous rice stuffed with small pieces of pork or dried prawns then deep fried. This gives a very crunchy outer layer, then a crunchy inner layer, then you get all these flavours from the small pieces of meat inside. Yummy!

Overall, a nice meal even though it was rather oily for our liking!